'Little White Pet'
Little White Pets:
With faces like that in the family, I could not pass up a rose named 'Little White Pet', aka 'White Pet', aka The Rose That Keeps On Giving.
I gave it that last name because I began with one plant. I pulled it up, (too large for the spot), gave it away, and ended up with 3 new 'White Pet' plants emerging from the empty spot. I gave another away, and planted one on the HOA property to replace a dead shrub. Did I end up with one plant? No, of course not. I have 3 plants again. Very little in the way of rust, even after a rainy winter. No mildew. Fragrant, if you can get down that low to the ground to take a whiff. The flowers are small, about 1.5". The flower is white, the buds are pink, the foliage a dark green with a slight gloss. Bloom productivity is good. Slight rust in winter, no mildew. It looks good to grow to at least 4'x4', if I can stop pulling it out and giving it away.
'Pillow Fight' is not mine, it's on my neighbor's property. I mention it because I step (carefully!) over it to hand-water some of my recently planted Aloes and Agaves. It looks good, clean foliage, good rebloom. It is your typical "groundcover" rose--a landscape architect's idea of a rose, not a rosarian's--just not a rose to fall in love with, continually stick your nose into, and dote over. Nice, though, for what it is.
Rosa 'Pillow Fight':
'Aimee Vibert' is similar to 'White Pet', though without the apparent ability to produce endless new copies of itself. The flowers are even more fragrant. Their petals are more delicate and slightly floppier than 'White Pet'. The white is an icier white, the flower slightly larger, the foliage a lighter green, and vigor is not as good. Even better Rust resistance than 'White Pet', and no mildew, either. Still waiting on you, Aimee. No picture right now; I did a blog post on my Aimee misadventures a while ago that explains why I don't have a good picture of her flowers yet.
I haven't heard of anyone growing 'Popcorn', only 'Gourmet Popcorn', which is a sport of the original. Another rose with lots of small flowers and above average rust resistance. My major beef with 'Gourmet Popcorn' is that the first opening blooms in the large clusters of flowers will brown up before the whole cluster has completed bloom, creating a mix of ugly brown and pristine white. Not satisfying. This one has grown taller than either of the other two roses, though mine is still petite at 3'x3'.
It spent the first seven years of its life here swallowed up by a 'Windfrills' daylily, remaining tiny and forgotten until I dug up the daylily. The day I dug up 'Windfrills' I had no more room in my green waste bin. It was also 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn't want to dump the thing in the compost, so I just plopped it in the back of the bed where it could dry up and die while waiting for a spot in the bin. Three years later it is still back there, out of the soil. It must have grown a new root system underneath the old one, because it blooms and grows as well as it ever did. I like it, I just didn't have a new spot for it and I wanted to see if 'Gourmet Popcorn' would come back, which if did. 'Gourmet Popcorn' has sunlight, and it has made good use of it. These little white roses are tough cookies. Rust and mildew resistance are as good as 'White Pet'.
Rosa 'Gourmet Popcorn' shortly after emerging from under a mass of daylily foliage:
'Bolero' is in a different class--floribunda--at 3" in diameter, the flowers are much larger than 'White Pet', 'Aimee', and 'Gourmet Popcorn', and they are mostly one-to-a-stem. But it's a small grower, 3'x3' after 4 years, so I think of it as a "little" rose. Bloom production is excellent. It has a strong sweet citrus fragrance. Mine mildews, which I believe is due to being under the canopy of 'Sombreuil'--others have told me it's clean for them. It gets bad rust at the end of the year in December and January, which is acceptable. It is those roses that rust the year round which are a problem. A better white cup-shaped rose, than the white Austins 'Glamis Castle', which is too large a plant to be included in this post, and the beautiful, but small, spindly, sparsely foliaged, constantly frustrating, and generally hopeless 'Fair Bianca'. 'Fair Bianca' has full-sized flowers but is included here because its a small plant, like 'Bolero'.
Fair Bianca, lovely, but generally hopeless without extreme TLC:
Hmm...spindly, sparse foliage, dies back if pruned, little vigor, generally hopeless, what's not to like? 'Fair Bianca's flower is gorgeous, and rust resistance is very good--when you have hardly any foliage to begin with, it is to be expected, but I'd have to vote for 'Bolero' as the one to buy.
I like my little white roses quite a lot, but my original little white pet, he's beloved.